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Match preview: Eagles v Giants

Adam Curley,  September 13, 2017 9:00 AM

Mark Hutchings could play a big role on Saturday night

Mark Hutchings could play a big role on Saturday night

The Eagles pulled off one of the great finals victories when they toppled Port Adelaide in extra time last week, but they'll need to move on quickly and get ready for another tough road trip. The Giants will have an extra two days to recover from their disappointing finals opener against the Crows, and the loss of star goalkicker Jeremy Cameron for the rest of the year with a hamstring injury only adds to their pain and it will force them to reshuffle their misfiring forward half. Shane Mumford's absence in the ruck is also a massive blow to GWS' hopes. A straight-sets exit would be disastrous for the Giants and they'll be keen to recapture some form on their home deck.

WHERE AND WHEN: Spotless Stadium, Saturday September 16, 5.25pm AWST


Round 22: GWS 12.9 (81) d West Coast 9.6 (60) at Spotless Stadium
Inspired by an outstanding 43-possession game by midfielder Josh Kelly, the Giants kicked the last three goals of the match to hold off the plucky Eagles.

Round 10: GWS 14.14 (98) d West Coast 14.6 (90) at Domain Stadium
In a thriller that saw the lead change eight times in the last term, star forward Toby Greene's two brilliant goals late in the game gave the Giants their first win over the Eagles in club history.


R22, 2017, GWS 12.9 (81) d West Coast 9.6 (60) at Spotless Stadium
R10, 2017, GWS 14.14 (98) d West Coast 14.6 (90) at Domain Stadium
R21, 2016, West Coast 14.13 (97) d GWS 14.12 (96) at Spotless Stadium
R5, 2015, West Coast 18.12 (120) d GWS 4.9 (33) at Domain Stadium
R8, 2014, West Coast 30.8 (188) d GWS 12.5 (77) at Domain Stadium 


Greater Western Sydney
1. The Giants might use Harry Himmelberg as a defensive forward to try and nullify All Australian marking machine Jeremy McGovern, after he played a similar role on Jake Lever last week.

2. With Jeremy Cameron missing, the Giants will go in with a much shorter forward line, and look to prove too mobile for the visitors at ground level.

3. Running machine Tom Scully will go to West Coast gun Andrew Gaff on the wing after helping curb his influence at Spotless Stadium last month. 

West Coast
1. Adam Simpson sent tagger Mark Hutchings to Dylan Shiel in round 22 and Josh Kelly ran riot, so he might find himself with Hutchings for company this week.

2. All Australian Elliot Yeo had a fascinating duel with Toby Greene the last time these teams met, and should get the job again after he racked up 30 disposals in round 22.

3. With GWS ruckman Shane Mumford ruled out with a foot problem, Nathan Vardy and Drew Petrie will be looking to get dangerous inside 50 as often as possible to make the Giants accountable.


1. In both clashes with the Eagles this season the Giants did enough in the final quarter to get home. In round 10 they kicked six goals to five and then in round 22, they booted four goals to one. In the most recent game Josh Kelly was the star with 43 disposals, one goal and eight clearances.

2. The Giants have struggled to score in their last two games and after averaging 91 points per game in rounds 1-22, that has dropped to 54 in the last two weeks. GWS is now ranked seventh for scoring this season, just ahead of the Eagles equal ninth.

3.The Giants remain the best clearance team in 2017, they're ranked first averaging 42.2 per game, and are second for centre clearances. The Eagles have struggled in centre clearances, they're ranked 15th overall and last of the remaining finalists. 

4. GWS will be playing in the second week of the finals for the first time this weekend. In 2016 the Giants won straight through to a preliminary final and they are aiming for just their second win in a final. West Coast has won five of 12 knock-out semi-finals, their most recent was in 2012 losing to Collingwood.

5. To win the Eagles will need to go against history; since 2000, under the current finals system the eighth-placed team has won consecutive finals only once, when North Melbourne did it in 2015. If the Giants lose they will be the second fourth-placed team in the past three seasons to be eliminated in straight sets.

6. On the back of his epic game-winner in extra time last week, West Coast midfielder Luke Shuey has risen to a career-high 15th in the Schick AFL Player ratings.


Leon Cameron: "That's the difference in the game, we started well, but we're really disappointing in the second quarter. I'm confident we can fix it, it's been two one-quarter hits in the last two weeks, so we can't shy away from that," he said after last week's loss to Adelaide. 

Adam Simpson: "To do that we did in the last couple of minutes, it's a massive step forward for us as a club and for what we're trying to achieve. I couldn't be prouder, these types of wins go down in history," he said after last week's extra-time win over Port Adelaide. 

IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR … Mark Hutchings.

The West Coast midfielder has performed some big jobs this season and he'll be once again asked to put the clamps on Dylan Shiel or Josh Kelly on Saturday night. He did well to keep Shiel to 21 touches in round 22 but Kelly racked up 43, so it looms as a big decision for the Eagles coaching staff.